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Samsung seeks arbitration against Sharp and other LCD panel makers over supply halt

Samsung Electronics has filed a request for international arbitration against Sharp and two other LCD panel makers over supply panel halt, The Korea Herald reported Friday.
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Instagram clamping down on apps

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As part of Instagram’s most recent platform update, third-party applications will be no longer allowed to present a user’s Instagram feed, a significant change in policy that’ll affect numerous mobile applications which pull Instagram feeds.

Going forward, they’ll be shutting down services and apps that offer auto-following, liking or commenting.

Photo-editing apps that show only individual Instagram photos won’t be affected by this change. All apps must comply by June 1, 2016. The new policies and reviews will go into effect for new apps starting December 3, 2015.

Your favorite apps are affected
Apps like Retro, Flow, Pangram and Pictacular for iPad; Webbygram, Webstagram, Photoflow, Instagreat and Itsdagram for desktop; and ones like Tangram for the Apple TV are all affected by Instagram’s announcement.

This development is especially concerning given Instagram lacks its own iPad app.

Additionally, Instagram is launching a new Sandbox mode which permits developers to privately build and test their apps using Instagram’s APIs as their software is being reviewed.

Apps created on or after November 17, 2015 can take advantage of Sandbox mode right away and those created before this date will only be able to use Sandbox mode after June 2016, but can still start submitting for review. In June 2016, any Instagram app that has not been reviewed and approved will be set to Sandbox mode automatically.

What now?
While Instagram argues that the changes are meant to give users a more cohesive and consistent experience across mobile apps and platforms, it’s hard to escape the notion that the company is actually forcing users to its own mobile app, where they can be monetized with various forms of advertising.

According to the team, even the most popular Instagram client has 0.5% or fewer monthly active users versus Instagram’s 400 million user base, or around two million.

“Shutting them off won’t win Instagram many more ad views anyways,” opined TechCrunch. “Our goal is to provide a focused set of terms and processes that give clarity to the use cases we will support going forward,” reads Instagram’s blog post.

“While this may require changes from many of you, we believe these changes will help maintain control for the community and provide a clear roadmap for developers.”

Doubling down on advertising
Instagram has been experimenting with brand ads for quite some time now and recently began toying with interactive ads that integrate with Apple’s Force Touch, Apple Pay and In-App Purchase technologies, allowing users to buy advertised products with a tap.

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Sprint launches LTE Plus network in 77 markets with speeds up to 100Mbps

 

 

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Cody Lee, Nov 20, 2015

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Sprint on Wednesday announced that it has flipped on the switch for its LTE Plus network in 77 major markets. The next-generation network is now available in several big cities across the United States, including Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Orlando and Boston.

In a press release, Sprint CTO Dr. John Saw explains the benefits of LTE Plus over standard LTE, such as stronger and more reliable service, and of course faster speeds. Saw says the new technology is capable of peak speeds in excess of 100Mbps on compatible devices.

The Sprint network is hitting its stride. We’re seeing a significant improvement in performance resulting from our 800MHz and 2.5GHz build, our relentless focus on cell site optimization, and our targeted deployment of LTE Advanced features like carrier aggregation and beamforming. As a result, we’re today unveiling the Sprint LTE Plus network.

LTE Plus, available today in 77 major markets, takes advantage of our rich triband spectrum portfolio, and it uses some of the world’s most advanced technologies in wireless such as carrier aggregation and antenna beamforming. Key benefits to our customers include:

Faster service with double the network capacity and speed, and peak speeds in excess of 100Mbps on capable devices
Stronger service with smart antenna technology that extends the cell signal further at 2.5GHz
More reliable service utilizing three bands of spectrum – 1.9GHz for broad coverage, 800MHz for better indoor service, and 2.5GHz for even faster data speeds
In honor of its LTE Plus launch, Sprint is offering what it says is the “biggest wireless deal in US history,”: 50% off AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile rate plans. It claims there are no tricks or gimmicks, and the carrier will pay up to $650 in early termination fees for all switchers.

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Since Sprint’s LTE Plus network uses LTE Advanced technology, it’s compatible with several newer handsets like the iPhone 6s, the HTC One A9, and the Samsung Galaxy S6. So it would seem if you live in one of the aforementioned markets, it may be worth revisiting Sprint.

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Facebook’s new “Music Stories”

 

 

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The million dollar jailbreak you can’t have

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Radio Automation software top 5 of 2013

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Apple slapped with new $840 million claim for ebooks price fixing

Apple was found guilty of conspiring with 5 major publishers to increase the prices of e-books last summer, but so far it hasn’t had to write a single check. But that could change soon thanks to a newly-filed damages claim.

Steve Berman, an attorney representing consumers and 33 states who linked up with the DOJ’s case against Apple, says the company’s actions caused e-book buyers to spend an extra $280,254,374. And wants that tripled…

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Bloomberg reports:

“State attorneys general and consumers who sued the world’s most valuable technology company over its e-book pricing are seeking $280 million in damages and want that amount tripled, a lawyer for them said in a filing yesterday with the federal judge in Manhattan who presided over the U.S. case against Apple.

The plaintiffs say they’re entitled to triple damages under antitrust law because the U.S. had already “conclusively proven” at a trial last year that Apple orchestrated a conspiracy to fix prices. The amount sought is 0.5 percent of the $158.8 billion in cash that the Cupertino, California-based company reported that it had as of the end of 2013.”

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has said that she will hold a trial later this year to address the damages sought by the states. Cote is the Judge who found Apple guilty of e-book price fixing back in July, following a non-jury trial.

She also found Apple liable to the 33 states that joined the US Justice Department in its lawsuit. The Justice Department didn’t ask for money in its case, but it looks like the states are seeking major damages. This will be interesting.

In the meantime, Apple has other stuff to worry about. Next month, the company is set to face Samsung in round 2 of its Northern California patent infringement battle. Apple won the first round, netting nearly $1 billion in damages.

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AT&T launches new family plans

AT&T launches new family plans with ‘best-ever’ prices
By Cody Lee, Feb 1, 2014

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In an effort to fend off T-Mobile’s ‘Un-carrier’ attack, and stay competitive with Verizon, AT&T announced a new set of family plans this afternoon. The plans include unlimited talk and text and then a bucket of 10GB of data that can be shared by all of the accompanying devices.

But the big news here is the pricing. AT&T is saying that these new plans come with the best-ever prices, and at first glance, they do look appealing. For instance, the entry-level option costs just $130 per month with unlimited talk, text and then 10GB of data for 2 smartphones…

Here’s a full breakdown of the pricing:

att plansAnd here’s an excerpt from the press release:

“Get ready to take advantage of AT&T’s1 (NYSE:T) best-ever prices for people wanting a family-size bucket of data and unlimited talk and text on the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network.2 As an example, a family of four can now get unlimited talk and text, and 10GB of data – enough for the whole family to share – for $160 a month.

These best-ever prices on AT&T’s best-in-class network are available beginning tomorrow to any AT&T customer, including small businesses with up to 10 lines, and customers of Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and other wireless carriers who switch to AT&T.”

So how do these ‘best-ever’ prices compare to the other guys? Well they aren’t good enough to beat T-Mobile, which offers unlimited data for two smartphones for $100/month. Sprint and other regional carriers are also cheaper. But let’s compare it to AT&T’s biggest competitor: Verizon.

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As you can see, AT&T’s new 2-line smartphone plan is $50 cheaper than the Big Red carrier. They both give you unlimited talk and text, and 10GB of data per month, and the two companies have comparable nationwide LTE networks—well, more comparable than say Sprint or T-Mobile.

So should you switch? That answer will vary from person to person. But AT&T is nearly finished with its LTE rollout, which has consistently been rated the fastest in the country, and is now offering competitive plan pricing and $100 per-line bill credits. It’s certainly worth looking into.

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NFL deploys iBeacons in Times Square, MetLife Stadium for Super Bowl

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Apple’s iBeacon technology seems to be catching on rather quickly. Just introduced at WWDC a little over 6 months ago, it’s already being deployed in grocery and retail stores, several Major League Baseball ballparks, and now apparently NFL stadiums as well.

The New York Times is reporting that the National Football League has installed iBeacons at MetLife Stadium, which is hosting the Super Bowl on Sunday, as well as Times Square. They’ll be used to help folks find their way around town, and then to the big game…

The Times’ Nick Wingfield writes:

“The Super Bowl remains the biggest mass-market advertising event in the country. But this year, a new kind of advertising — personalized and based on physical location down to a matter of feet — will greet fans in Times Square and MetLife Stadium, where this weekend’s championship game will be played.

At both locations, the National Football League has sprinkled tiny wireless transmitters that can send finely tuned messages to smartphones. It is the boldest test yet for a months-old technology that could change how brands of all sorts market to their customers.”

For now, Wingfield says, the alerts are mostly limited to helpful tips, such as where nearest entry gate of the stadium is, or the restrooms. And in Times Square, the iBeacons can tell users where to buy a jersey for their favorite team, or direct them to tourist attractions.

It’s cool to see all of these companies and professional sports leagues taking advantage of Apple’s iBeacon tech. As we’ve said before, when you combine iBeacons with Passbook and Apple’s rumored mobile payment service, things could get pretty interesting for users.

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